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Smallholder farming and farmers in Burma/Myanmar

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Farmer Groups & Civil Society (MYLAFF folder)
Description/subject: To access some files, users may have to take out a (free) subscription to MYLAFF at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/mylaff..... (In)Equality and Action: The Role of Women's Training Initiatives in Promoting Women's Leadership Opportunities in Myanmar... Cooperation and Community Empowerment in Myanmar in the Context of Myanmar Agenda 21... Crackdown at Letpadan: Excessive Force and Violations to the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Expression (en)... Crackdown at Letpadan: Excessive Force and Violations to the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Expression (bu)... Lessons Learned From Civil Society Efforts to Promote Community (Forest) Resource Rights and Other Rights in Voluntary Partnership Agreements... Myanmar: Cross-Cutting Governance Challenges... New Actors on the Global Stage - Environmental Adult Education and Activism Emerging from Within Myanmar (Burma)... Stakeholder Engagement and Grievance Mechanisms... လူထုအခြေပြု ဥပဒေရေးရာအထောက်အကူပြုသူဆိုသည်မှာ
Language: English
Source/publisher: MYLAFF
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/mylaff
Date of entry/update: 02 July 2016

Individual Documents

Title: How to Grow Burma’s Economy
Date of publication: 17 August 2016
Description/subject: UK-based author made a list of recommended reads by Bill Gates with his influential book “How Asia Works,” an analysis of success and failure in Asian economies. In his book, Studwell argues that high-performing countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China set the foundations for economic success by strengthening smallholder agriculture, subjecting industry to export discipline and pursuing a tightly controlled financial policy. Studwell spoke to The Irrawaddy ahead of his keynote speech at a conference in Naypyidaw on Tuesday on the role of government in supporting smallholder agriculture, to accelerate economic development..."
Author/creator: Sandy Barron (interviews Joe Studwell)
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2016

Title: Myanmar's Smart Farmers - How low-cost solutions are keeping farmers in Myanmar one step ahead of climate change. (video)
Date of publication: 04 May 2015
Description/subject: "Practically isolated from the global market for 50 years, Myanmar is still largely dependent on agriculture. But the country is one of the most at risk from climate change and no one feels these pressures more than the rural smallholder farmers who make up the backbone of its food system and rural economy. Shorter monsoons and rising temperatures mean severe droughts have become more frequent in recent decades. This has led to higher levels of saltwater intrusion in important rice growing territories and an increase in the risk of complete crop failure. Proximity Designs is a social enterprise which was founded to provide farmers with low-cost, low-tech equipment to help them adapt and thrive in their changing environment. They ensure their products are both affordable and suitable by employing a team of data-gatherers to conduct thorough research within the farming communities. And thanks to a network of some 900 scooter-driving "field agents", their products can even find their way to the most remote parts of the country. Russell Beard travels to Myanmar to meet the innovators behind Proximity Designs and to see how their products and expertise are helping farmers stay one step ahead in a changing world."
Author/creator: Russell Beard
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Al Jazeera (Earthrise)
Format/size: Adobe Flash (15 minutes)
Date of entry/update: 24 August 2015

Title: Alternatives to Land Grabbing: Smallholder Engagement in Commodity Booms in Southeast Asia
Date of publication: May 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "Given the widespread smallholder impulse to engage in commodity booms in Southeast Asia and the potential for this engagement to offer a more inclusive development pathway than large-scale plantation production, we examine three issues: Wh at are the agro-economic factors favouring or obstructing smallholder modes of commodity production relative to large-scale production entities? What are the incentives for agribusiness firms to contribute to smallholder commodity production through roles other than direct farm management? Can smallholder commodity production be broadly inclusive in the face of tendencies towards agrarian differentiation and the market imperatives of agribusiness firms? We present a preliminary exploration of these questions through localised case studies of smallholder engagement with four commodity sectors – oil palm, rubber, cassava, and teak."
Author/creator: Rob Cramb,Vongpaphane Manivong, Jonathan Newby, Kem Sothorn, Patrick Sujang
Language: English
Source/publisher: An international academic conference June 2015, Chiang Mai University
Format/size: pdf (414K)
Date of entry/update: 10 January 2016

Title: On The Land We Live - A film about land reform in Myanmar (video)
Date of publication: 17 March 2015
Description/subject: Documentary by the Land Core Group Myanmar, where 70% of the Myanmar population are smallholder farmers, about the challenges faced by poor farmers from land grabbing and land dispossession in rural Myanmar...Interviews with land activists and dispossessed farmers in different parts of the country... sections on: resistance to land-grabbing; Myanmar land law and policies (where customary tenure and women's land rights are not explicitly recognised); efficiency of smallholder practice...
Language: English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ (English voice-over and subtitles)
Source/publisher: Land Core Group of the Food Security Working Group
Format/size: Adobe Flash (20 minutes)
Alternate URLs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xztU_f6QsrU&feature=youtu.be
Date of entry/update: 18 March 2015

Date of publication: October 2011
Description/subject: Introduction: "The goal of poverty alleviation is now seen as a high priority project for Myanmar’s new government. In public statements the new President, Thein Sein, has raised issues of poverty in Myanmar as a problem facing the country (as opposed to a previous failure to acknowledge any such problems.) Support for this goal was verbally reiterated in a May 2011 Poverty Alleviation Seminar headed by Dr. U Myint, and again, more broadly, at an August 2011 poverty alleviation seminar in Nyapidaw attended by President Thein Sein and democracy icon Daw Aung San Su Kyi. At both events speakers presented papers aimed at monetary reform, assessments of Myanmar’s industrial sectors, infrastructure, and agricultural development. Presenters overwhelmingly acknowledged the agricultural sector as one in which improvements could be made to actually meet goals of addressing poverty. With 70% of Myanmar’s population supported by agricultural related employment and incomes, policies to lower poverty levels in this sector could significantly impact a majority of the country’s residents. Currently, of these residents, an estimated 32.7% remain under the country’s poverty line, though critics have described this number as low (CIA World Fact Book, 2011). Myanmar is frequently referred to as the one time “rice basket” of Asia, often highlighting how far the agricultural and economic systems of Myanmar have fallen. This renewed interest in the development of Myanmar’s agricultural sector has the potential to reengage that historical presence of agricultural vitality. Addressing the status of low income and small land holders will be a key part of this process as farmers with less then 1 and up to 5 acres of land represent 56% of Myanmar’s farming population (FSWG, 2011). The economic security of small land hold farmers offer one way to sustainably improve the agricultural system and financial lyempower a large population of Myanmar’s farmers. This paper will examine the possible use of contract farming with small land holding farmers as a tool to capitalize on the opportunity to improve the economic growth of Myanmar’s agricultural sector, as well as to sustainably improve the livelihood, capacity, and output of this demographic of farmers. It is important to highlight that contract farming is not a blanket tool and the positive circumstances of successful cases must be considered within Myanmar’s agricultural context. Critics of contract farming highlight the de-facto inequality farmers are often put in by a contract, along with the significant risk it can place on already fragile farming 2 environments in which farmers risk everything. Such risks could be exacerbated by Myanmar’s agricultural policy and political climate. Yet, contract farming has been used with increasing frequency to meet the needs of small land holding farmers, and companies that have specialist or niche farming needs. These contracts have led to a range of benefits for both farmers and contracting companies. The recent agreement on the part of the new government to make agricultural development and poverty reduction policy goals, offers a space in which contract farming opportunities could support the small land hold farming sector of Myanmar’s agricultural community. Based on this consideration, this paper will briefly explore the theoretical views of contract farming currently used. It will then examine the circumstances of previous commercial or large contract farming attempts in Myanmar that have been problematic, before presenting two cases of contract farming with small land holders, in Laos and Cambodia. From the analysis of these two successful cases originally documented by the Asia Development Bank (ADB), this paper will work to identify positive and negative lessons learned in ea ch circumstance. This paper will examine the opportunities for the application of these lessons to the context of Myanmar’s own small land hold farmers. It will then conclude with a brief examination of the larger policies that would have impacted contract farming implementation in Myanmar, compared to the policies from Laos and Cambodia which have given rise to successful contract farming programs with small land hold farmers."
Author/creator: Thomas A. Baker
Language: English
Format/size: pdf (113K)
Date of entry/update: 10 January 2016